Dehu Pere Et Fils
Dehu Pere et Fils are seventh generation wine makers in the village of Fossoy.
I must confess a touch of ambivalence on my first tasting of their wines. Simple, fruit driven wines with enough complexity to keep me drinking but not much more. Mostly a blend of Meunier with some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, their wines are SR, a kind of cooperative grower, that produces the grapes, presses them and has them blended and bottled in the cooperative in Chateau Thierry. As they say, you get what you pay for.
It wasn’t, however, until a few years ago that I was introduced to something a little different…
Benoit Dehu, the man in charge, has pulled a small area of production away from this and has applied biodynamic techniques and know how to create a wine that is a WHOLE lot different. That wine is La Rue des Noyers.
Nestled on the top of the hill on the south side of Fossoy and hugging the trees is the vineyard ‘La Rue des Noyers’. It is 100% Meunier, South-East facing and split into 3 parts relating to root stock; 41b, 161/49 and SO4. It was planted in 1972 and is named after the trees that lead the vineyard to the forest.
They now have a total of 2.5 hectares in biodynamic and are looking to expand this.
The biodynamic wines are dealt with completely separately on site. They have their own 2000kg press, barrel room, where each root stock and part of the press is vinified seperately, and beautifully wood lined cellar. The wines have a minimum of 15 months oak contact, no batonnage, no malolactic where possible, indigenous yeasts and their own wood is used for the barrels!
La Rue des Noyers:
The wine is produced from a single year (although there is always a touch of reserve). The 2012 was a touch heavy on oak on the first nose but this lifted and gives you so much more. Extraordinary layers of blackcurrant, white pepper and blueberry interspersed with an unbelievable salinity and juicy midpalate. There is so much intensity and tension to this wine that I feel like I need to drink it all but I sense that is has years in it…
This is exactly the same wine but from a single oak cask and surprisingly only made from Taille. Benoit said that there was no way he could blend it with the rest of the cuvee and you can see why! Deeper gold and much more focused and intense on the nose. Almost like a Pinot Noir, with blueberry notes really pushing through. Huge, spicey and more rounded. It did feel like it needed more time but was really delicious.
In the next release there will be a fascinating comparison between the root stock as Benoit offers each out individually. I will be the first knocking on his door for this!
As Benoit has got to grips with things he has started to branch out a bit more as well. Further down the slope and again facing South-East are two plots from the vineyard ‘Les Chaillots’. They total 0.2 hectares and sit side by side both on slate. To the West, a Pinot Noir and the East a Vieilles Vignes Meunier planted in 1962. Both will see the light of day at some point in the next 3 to 5 years but they tasted beautiful in barrel in 2015. I can’t wait!
It cannot be overstated how delicious La Rue des Noyers is. It is one of those wines that you end up loosing yourself in as your mind, palate and soul discovers the texture, tension and intensity of it all. Get out there and find some.
Region: La Vallee De La Marne
Contact: Benoit Dehu
Cuvée De Prestige: La Pythie
Year Founded: 1787
Recent Tasting Notes from Dehu Pere Et Fils